By Brittany Colsuanno
As a military family, you have to create your own traditions.
I met my husband in North Carolina. We were lucky enough to be able to spend holidays with my family or hop on a quick flight to Cape Cod to visit with my in-laws. We were able to mostly stick with our normal holiday traditions with our families.
When we received orders to Kodiak, Alaska we knew we were going to have to start our own family traditions. We’re 5,000 miles away from family and plane tickets are insanely expensive. For many people in our position, visiting family is not an option during the holidays…so why not create your own traditions? Many military families use school vacation and holiday time to take advantage of many amazing military discounts. Whether your spouse is deployed, you’re stationed overseas, or aren’t able to be with family this holiday season, taking advantage of deep military discounts may be a great option for you.
Resorts and Cruises
Armed Forces Vacation Club (AFVC) offers all eligible members of the U.S. military vacations at an affordable price. Space-A stays start at $349 for 7 nights. Both domestic and international locations are included in the AFVC.
On eligible Carnival Cruise packages, military personnel (active duty, retired, and honorably discharged) can save up to $250 per person.
Prices for tours through the Bahamas with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines start as low as $184 per person.
Active military and spouses, retired, Reserves, US National Guard, US Veterans, US Department of Defense, and Canada Department of National Defense will receive additional 10% savings at Sandals Resorts. If you are a member of eBates, you can receive an extra 2% cash back if you book online.
Grande Shores Ocean Resort in Myrtle Beach, SC offers a 25% discount for military now through December 31st.
Through December 30, 2016, Great Wolf Lodge Howling Heroes program offers a discount of up to 30% off on best available rates on reservations to members of the military and their families. Reservations include admission to the resort’s indoor water park. Howling Heroes discount is offered exclusively to military, fire, emergency medical service personnel, police, and correctional officers. You must present valid ID at check-in. Enter promo code HEROES when booking online or mention when making reservations via phone (800.551.9653).
Beaches Resorts in Jamaica and Turks and Caicos offers an additional 10% off to military.
With 6,300 locations globally you are bound to find a Choice Hotel in your ideal location. They offer 15% off booking for active duty military, National Guard, Reserves, and military families.
Hard Rock Hotels offers an up-to-15% military discount, depending on availability.
La Quinta Inn & Suites offers an additional 12% off the best available rate for active duty military and retired military.
While the military discount is not advertised by Southwest Airlines, call 1-800-I-FLY-SWA to confirm.
Military families can check up to three bags for free on American Airlines. They also offers discounts on tickets, which vary by city. Use their toll free number for the military community, 1-800-433-7300, to check for discounts in destination cities.
New York MTA in New York City offers fares at a 25% discount for active duty military.
Through December 16, 2017, active and retired US military personnel (including active or retired members of the National Guard, Reservists, the US Coast Guard, the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS), and the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)) and their spouses can purchase:
- Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper Option for $209 each, plus tax.
- Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Water Park Fun and More Option for $209 each, plus tax.
- Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper and Water Park Fun and More Options for $246 each, plus tax.
- Disney 5-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper Option for $224 each, plus tax.
- Disney 5-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Water Park Fun and More Option for $224 each, plus tax.
- Disney 5-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper and Water Park Fun and More Options for $261 each, plus tax.
Please be aware that certain dates are blacked out for discounted tickets.
Active and retired US military personnel can also take advantage of specially priced rooms at participating Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort hotels.* This offer is valid for stays most nights from Jan. 1 – Dec. 19.
For information on Disney World discounts or to make reservations at Walt Disney World Resort, military personnel may call 407-939-5684 or participating US military base ticket offices.
Through Dec. 16, 2017, active and retired U.S. military personnel (including active or retired members of the National Guard, Reservists, the US Coast Guard, the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS), and the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)) and their spouses can purchase:
- Disney Military Promotional 3-Day Park Hopper Tickets for $156 each.
- Disney Military Promotional 4-Day Park Hopper Tickets for $181 each.
Disneyland tickets may be used Jan. 1 – Dec. 19, 2017, unless the date is blacked out.
For information regarding on the Disneyland Resort or to make room reservations at the Disneyland Resort, military personnel may call 866-943-7872 or participating US military base ticket offices. Information is also available at DisneyMilitaryOffers.com.
Bear Mountain Ski Resort in Big Bear Lake, CA offers discounted tickets to Active Duty Military. On uniform days, active duty members are eligible for a $38 lift ticket. Bring your ID and get your ticket at the resort. Also, ski or ride free on your birthday.
Snow Summit Ski Resort in Big Bear, CA offers discounted tickets to active duty military. On uniform days, active duty members are eligible for a $38 lift ticket. Bring your ID and get your ticket at the resort. Also, ski or ride free on your birthday
Mammoth Mountain Resort in Mammoth Lakes, CA offers active duty members and dependents a 25% discount on lift tickets Saturday, Sunday, and the holidays. You must show valid military ID to be eligible. A 50% discount is offered when purchased through base ticket offices. There are blackout dates around December holiday season and Presidents Day weekend in February.
At China Peak in Lakeshore CA, active duty members receive$10 off lift tickets
Alpine Meadows Ski Resort in Alpine Meadows, CA offers active duty members free lift tickets.
Active duty and retirees are eligible to receive a free Diamond Peak lift ticket (midweek, non-holiday) and a $39 lift ticket weekends and holidays by showing a military ID at Guest Services at Diamond Peak Ski Resort in Incline Village, NV. Dependents receive a $39 lift ticket, valid any day.
Homewood Mountain Resort in Homewood, CA invites active duty members to ski for free any day of the week! Dependents also receive 50% off day lift tickets when accompanied by active duty military.
Mount Shasta in Mount Shasta, CA offers active duty military lift tickets for $25. The discount is valid every day.
Active duty ski for free at Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley, CA Sunday through Friday. Saturday and some blackout dates require paid lift passes. December 24-January 2, January 15 and 16, and February 19 and 20.
Sugarbowl Ski Resort in Norden, CA offers active duty 50% discount off their rack rate ski lift ticket ($71 non-holidays, $77 holidays).
Wintergreen Resort in Wintergreen, VA offers a 20% discount on all standard lift, rental, lessons, Treehouse, and lodging. Discounts apply to active duty, Wounded Warriors, and retired active duty as well as National Guard, spouses, and dependent children. You must have valid military ID to be eligible for discount.
Museums, Parks, and Entertainment
9/11 Memorial Museum in New York, NY offers veterans discounted admission and active duty military, retired military, and 9/11 family members free admission. Tickets include the 9/11 Memorial.
Intrepid Museum in New York, NY offers active duty and retired military free admission. Veterans receive a discount.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY offers free admission to active duty military and military families with valid military IDs and dependent IDs.
Waves of Honor Program permits any U.S. active duty military, activated or drilling reservist, or National Guardsman to one complimentary admission and admission of up to three direct dependents per year to either SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, Water Country USA, Sesame Place, or Aquatica SeaWorld’s Waterpark in San Diego. You must have valid active military ID in order to participate.
New York Aquarium in New York, NY offers discounts to active duty and reserve military members, including a free general admission ticket.
Active duty members can receive up to $30 off individual game tickets for all New York City professional sports games.
Print and present a military discount coupon at the Hersheypark front gate with a valid military ID to save $20 off the price of Regular One Day admission and $4 off Junior or Senior One Day admission. One discount coupon may be used on the purchase of up to eight admissions.
Military discount tickets can be purchased through the National Aquarium‘s (Baltimore, MD) consignment ticket program, which means they can be purchased at one of the local base MWR offices (Fort Belvoir, Fort Myer, Bolling and Andrews AFB).
Active duty, Reserves, and National Guard families are eligible for the National Park’s Annual Pass. This is valid at any of the more than 2,000 federal recreation sites.
Brittany is a Coast Guard wife and mom. She was born and raised in North Carolina and now lives in Alaska where her husband is stationed. She spends her days chasing around her daughter and two yellow labs while dreaming of warmer weather. She blogs at anchoredmommy.com about military life, parenting and fitness. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.